Rachel L. Swarns is the director of Hidden Legacies: Slavery, Race and the Making of 21st Century America, a new initiative of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. The initiative is designed to deepen Americans’ understanding of the connections between slavery and contemporary institutions, and to bring journalists, scholars, students and communities together to promote and produce research and reporting that illuminates the experiences of people of color in the United States.

A critical component of the project is the creation of a digital archive, a repository of archival records that will document the role that slavery played in the emergence of key institutions, including universities, religious institutions and financial institutions.

Swarns and her undergraduate and graduate students are also building a new website – Lynchings in the North – that documents the scores of lynchings that took place in northern and Mid-Atlantic states. Students involved in the project, which has been featured in The New York Times and on WNYC, New York’s flagship public radio station, are researching the lives of the Black people who were killed, writing their obituaries and collecting and analyzing archival documents, including articles from historic African American newspapers and white newspapers across the United States.

Hidden Legacies aims to play an important role in informing local and national discussions among policy makers, activists and community members who are working to address the legacies of slavery and racial discrimination in their institutions and communities. Please contact us if you have archival records to share or are interested in collaborating with us. We hope that you will join us in this critical work.

Contact Rachel